A Letter to Little Me

Have you ever wished if you only knew then what you know now?  Do you ever think about, as a child, how differently you might have done things, or said things, if you had known how they were going to turn out?  Would we have changed anything, I don’t know.  We sure wouldn’t have learned the lessons we did, if we were given all the warnings and the answers.   I do wish, however, that I had loved myself a little bit more when I was little.  I don’t mean in a selfish, conceited sort of manner, but in a healthy, self love kind of way.  I wish that I had not tried so hard to fit in, when I was doing just fine on my own.   I wish that, despite feeling inferior to my older siblings in my parents’ eyes, that I knew I was as worthy of their love as my sister and brother were.  I would tell little me that it’s ok to march to the beat of

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your own drum, and to never worry if you marched outside the lines.   If I were to write little me a letter, I’d say all of the above and then some.  I’d say, you will go through trials and tribulations like no other, but they will shape you and mold you into a most compassionate human being.  Something no amount of money, looks, social status or college degrees could buy you.  I would tell me that you will fall down seven times and get up on the eighth, time and time again, and that you will do this because you are a fighter.    I would write that there will be people throughout your life who will never fully accept or respect you, simply because you stand up for yourself and speak your own mind, but to never let that take you down to their level.  I would tell me that I am proud of you for hanging in there, as a child and as you grew into an adult.   For realizing that you are not perfect, and never will be.  Proud of you for never claiming to be faultless, and for seeking help for mental health when you know you have issues to work on.  And even more proud for never being ashamed of that.

Dear little me, I could go on and on, but will save the rest for another time, as there will be more life lessons to study and add to your story.   To big me, never lose sight of the little me in you.  Remember that each and every step you have taken has brought you to the here and now.  Take those steps and never worry if your path isn’t straight.  Take those steps and be proud of not only where they’ve gotten you, but where they will take you.  Be proud of your heart and mind, but never lose sight of your place in this big world. Be humble and kind.  Be thankful.  Be you.

Until next time.

 

 

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Farmer’s Market Fun

Does your city have a farmer’s market?  I absolutely adore them.  I love everything about them, from the people, to the food, to the trinkets and treasures (or as my dear hubs calls them, Farts and Craps…sigh.  aka Arts and Crafts).  One of my favorite stops is the donut truck.  Oh yes.  They have, without a doubt, the best fried circles of happiness I have ever had.  And I’ve had a bazillion.  Do you see ’em?  Right down there?  Yum, no?!?!

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Flowers are definitely another of my faves at the market.  Even if I’m not getting some for myself, I cannot wait to capture all of the beautiful colors, snapping away with the camera on my phone like a teenage girl at a One Direction concert.  (I am probably way behind the times on that one.  I’m all but certain they are “so yesterday”.  Get with it, Jules!)

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Isn’t it a beaut?  Look at those spiky thingamajigs on it. My super geek flower persona says that’s what they are called…spiky thingamajigs.

My only purchase today was this gorgeous basket of berries.   If things go according to plan (which, if you know me, gives me 50/50 odds), they will end up in a cobbler and then into my tum tum.  As I waited in line to pay for them, I tried to tell myself to just get two pints.  Um. Hello. I know me way better than that. And I had a good chuckle at my expense.  Two pints?! Pfffttt.  So as my turn came up, and still with the intention of being a good girl, I stated loud and clear “one gallon, please”.  Cobbler and muffins, here I come.  Eeeeeek!

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While you may not solve world peace (well, I don’t know, cobbler and donuts can get you pretty close to it), getting out to your local farmer’s market can be quite the adventure.  I highly recommend it.

Until next time.

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New dawn. New day.

I am slowly finding my way back to the keyboard.  When life deals you blows, you often have no idea how you are going to react, deal, manage, fight…the list goes on.  And so must I.  Too many times we take for granted, one of the most amazing gifts of all,

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a brand new day.  And what a gift it is.  Yes, a gift, even on our worst of days.  Oh sure, on those days it may not feel like, or look like, a pretty little package with a ginormous bow on top, but it is indeed a gift.  And what we do with that gift is probably one of the most important decisions we can make.   Will we be grateful and filled with hope, or bitter, filled with anger and fear?  It is easy to let our emotions guide our attitude for the day ahead, but it can be a recipe for disaster if we let the negative ones take the lead.  Easy to do?  Yes.  Hard to conquer?  Sometimes.  Worth every ounce of fight you’ve got in you?  Absolutely.

I have no magic recipe for the bad days.  Some days all I can do is hunker down and let it pass.  I find that, for me, an extra word or two with The Big Guy up above, never hurts either.  In fact, it is oftentimes the glue that keeps me from completely falling apart.  I find much solace and comfort in knowing that He is just a prayer away.  No matter what you do, though, please fight for yourself.  Fight out of that bad mood.  Fight the fears and the anxiety.  Fight with everything you have in you.  The good day(s) will come.  Of course, no one likes a bad day.  Likes feeling anxious, or scared, angry, or stressed. But without these days, we would never appreciate the good ones like we should.  Nor would we become strong or compassionate.  And we so dearly need those things.

So about that new dawn.  About your new day.  Will you stop for a moment before it begins and take note of how you are feeling before you start it?  If it’s not feeling and looking like it’s a good one, will you take a deep breath and remind yourself that you are a fighter? Will you thank your powers that be for the chance, the incredible chance, to do just that?  And if you wake up feeling on top of the world, will you, perhaps, help someone else fight their fight?  I’d like to believe you will.  Either way, your day is a gift. Unwrap it and fight the good fight.

Until next time.

 

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My Little Angel

I haven’t written for a while.  I simply didn’t know if and or when I would be able to after last week’s sudden and unexpected loss of my sweet sweet Kenny Benny.  I hadn’t realized, until he was gone, just how deeply and extremely crucial he was in helping ease my anxiety.  Most know that Big Papi is Mama’s boy, but that I love EACH one of my dogs with every fiber of my being.  But there was just something about Kenny.  He had this gift.  And it was because of this gift that I called him my little angel.  He had this knack for recognizing when I needed comfort.  He would crawl into my lap (the only lap dog of all my four pups) and I would stroke his beautiful coat for hours.  He would also come over to me if I were crying, and lay his head on my shoulder…he just knew what to do.  Every single time.

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I have had to make the difficult trip to the vet to say goodbye to one of my pups four times now. It never gets easy.  Ever.  But if there is any consolation, I know without a shadow of a doubt, that my dogs were/are spoiled rotten to the core, and loved beyond measure.  And that is exactly how it should be.  They should know every single day that they are loved, that they are cherished, that they are family.

I love you, my little angel.  You will be in my heart forever.

Until next time.

 

I Feel Pretty…Well, Kinda

I set my alarm for 4:00 a.m.  Left myself plenty of time for 2 miles on the treadmill, for taking out the pups, and a shower, then it was Royal Wedding here I come.  Yes.  I was one of those.  One of those millions, I might add in my defense, who got up to watch Prince Harry marry Meghan Markle.  I didn’t mind the teasing for doing so.  Not one iota.  Sure, I get that the fascination with the Royals isn’t everyone’s (dare I say it) cup of tea.  Or fascination for weddings, for that matter.  While I consider my fascination on the mild side, I am very interested in Diana’s children, and how they breathe fresh life into a seemingly stodgy and stuffy family.  Even Charles has softened around the edges I think.

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So what, you may be wondering, does the Royal Family have to do with feeling pretty? Seeing the bride, now duchess, brought up some memories that I haven’t thought of in a while, and since my wedding anniversary is just around the corner, those two things reminded me of a very special time in my life.  A time in which, not only did I feel full of hope for my future, I also felt pretty that day.  I have never felt comfortable with my looks.  Not for as long as I can remember.  I imagine there are many who feel this way.   I totally get it.  But there is just something magical about a wedding dress, and that glow that you see on a bride, a glow that starts from within and shines like the dickens.  You ladies must know what I’m talking about, surely.  Something happened next, however, that took me by surprise.  As I sat there with anticipation bursting at the seems, watching Harry’s bride make her first appearance, I was hit by a wave I didn’t see coming.  A double wave, as a matter of fact, of jealousy and insecurity.  Boy I was NOT expecting that.  Not at all.  I was envious, not of her wealth or newly cemented royal status, but of her getting to be the bride.  Of having that feeling of your whole future ahead of you.  I wanted that perfect dress (and wow, was hers perfect…Audrey Hepburn perfect).  I wanted to feel special.  I wanted that glow.  I wanted to feel pretty.

Thankfully that wave didn’t last very long. A tsunami it wasn’t.  It did give me pause, though, to remember a few things.  While I may never feel confident about my appearance, of one thing I am certain.  Beauty will always come from within. That may sound cliche’ to many, but there is nothing untrue about it.  Not one thing.  Beauty is when you smile or wink or give a hug.  Beauty is laughing and crying and walking hand in hand.  Beauty is sharing the pain along with the pleasure.  That is what makes you beautiful.  Please don’t ever lose sight of that.

Until next time.

 

 

 

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A Love Affair With Words and Pictures

I love words.  Saying them, hearing them, reading them, writing them, making them up. You name it.  Love ’em.  I’ve always loved words. I would even bet that my gift of gab came from this love of language.  I remember  as a youngster, frequently getting into trouble in school for talking.  If only I had been able to convince my teachers that it was because of my love of vocabulary, then maybe I wouldn’t have had recess taken away so often.  Dang it.

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Simply put, words are amazing.  They have a power like very few things in this world.  Words can make or break a conversation. They can tell us a story and take you around the world without even leaving your home. Words.  They keep us connected as humans and allow us to follow our dreams.  Sometimes, however, words are used to hurt.  While still powerful, these words can also create pain, anger and sadness.  This is where we must overcome the bad with the good. Where words of comfort must override words that sting. Where kind words will steal the thunder from the unkind. Where uplifting words will snatch the victory right out of the cynics’ hands.

Just as with words, pictures too, are so powerful and so amazing to me.  Whether the two are paired together, or each on their own, they are fantastic.  In the last three or four years, I have become enamored with pictures.  I have no formal training in photography, but after capturing a sunrise in the Sierra Nevadas, I was hooked.  I can’t explain my methodology with regard to taking pictures. I simply get this feeling in my gut, and a sense for the colors,textures, and subjects that fill up the frame, and I just know it’s “the” shot.  I love taking pictures so much.  I love finding my subjects…the people, places, things, from the sublime to the simple, and everything in between.  I love how it softens the blows my anxiety can deliver, and how childlike and filled with wonder it can make me feel.  I don’t think there is much, if anything, I don’t love about photography.  And that is not something you can say about many things.  If you find something you feel this way about, don’t let it go.

Words.  Pictures. So basic and yet so incredible.  Are you a words or pictures or both, kind of person? Do you love what you can do with them as much as I do? If you do, I hope you never stop, but most of all, I hope you are inspired to use them for the greater good. We can never have enough of that. Ever.

Until next time.

 

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Try A Little Kindness

I grew up listening to my parents playing Glen Campbell and Johnny Cash records at their dinner parties.  I would sneak peeks from my hiding place at all the 70s hairstyles and leisure suits.  But what stuck with me most, was the music.  I think my first childhood crush (in a very long list) was on Glen Campbell. He had the sweetest smile, perfect hair, and such a twinkle in his eyes.  But I also adored his music.  Still do. One of my most favorite songs of his is “Try A Little Kindness”.  I can’t think of a much more powerful, impactful statement.

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I have always had a soft spot in my heart for kindness.  A rough childhood of sorts, first made me appreciate genuine kindness from others. As I grew older this appreciation continued.  Bouncing from job to job, I struggled to find my path in life.   I soaked up kindness like a sponge and it kept me afloat.  It rekindled my faith in others and added the much needed fuel to my fire to keep going. Today, as I battle my anxiety, and as I reach yet another stage in my life, I value kindness above almost all else.  With the exception of my faith, and my love for my family, kindness is at the very top.  Tippy tippy top.

How can a concept so simple be so powerful?  In a world where anger and resentment, revenge and entitlement, seem to abound, why is kindness such a crucial element?  For me, it is tantamount to survival.  Everyone, and I mean everyone, is battling something.  CEOs and celebrities,  doctors and drummers, parents and preachers.  Each and every one of us struggle with something at one time or another.  And what a very easy way to let someone know you care…try a little kindness. Doesn’t have to be a grand gesture.  It can be as simple as a smile or a wink. Do you realize how powerful that one simple act can be? I hope you do, and I hope you do it. It can literally turn someone’s day, mood, and yes even life around.

We don’t have to be struggling, though, to appreciate kindness. That is just one of its many many many benefits.  Kindness can ease a worried mind, soothe a frazzled soul, take the edge off a daunting task.  The list is endless, the impact, phenomenal.

Try some, won’t you?

Until next time.

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Summertime

Summertime.  As a kid it meant freedom from classrooms and homework, county fairs and playing ’til the fireflies came out. As a young adult it meant fun in the sun and late nights at the bars.  Now, however, Summer has changed for me

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again.  This time in my life it is all about colors and smells and sneaking in that walk before the heat becomes too much.  It’s about ice coffee and flowers, and baking in the morning so you can turn your oven off by noon. It means less me time but more mom time, with no homework to check on or taxi services to provide.

Summer means something different to everyone, I suppose.  I will admit, it’s not my favorite of the four seasons, but I will never turn down a Farmer’s Market run or the chance to plop my feet in a pool with an ice cold beer in my hands.  Who would, am I right? If I’m honest, it’s the humidity that slithers its way into my little Southern summer, that I cannot stand.  Curse you, humidity.  You are (pun intended) uncool.  As a child who grew up without air conditioning, I vowed when I was an adult, to never sleep in any kind of heat whatsoever. Much to my darling husband’s chagrin, I’ve kept that promise that I made.  Go, me!

So what about you?  Are you a Summer person?  Do you live and breathe and count the days until you can wear white and barbecue every single day?  If so, can I come over?

Until next time.

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Rollin’ On the River

There are many sayings and quotes about the power of being by the water.  Be it the ocean, a river, a lake, there is something magical there.   I still remember the first time I saw the ocean as a very young little girl.

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I have not lost that incredible feeling of sheer joy.   I hope I never do.  I believe that there is some sort of hidden pull to the water. A sense of power, positive power, exudes from it, and each and every time, I am filled with this indescribable sense of calm when I see it. That calm, that sense of wonder that you feel, you can’t buy that.  You can’t find it in a store, take a pill for it,  or learn about it in school.  You must experience it first hand. No substitutions.  It doesn’t have to be as grand as the Pacific or as stunning as Lake Tahoe.  It can be that pond on the farm or the brook in the woods.  The power is there.  It’s there in each ripple of a wave, and in its glass like stillness on a windless day.  It’s there on a sunny day when you could swear there were diamonds skimming the surface.  And it is there during a storm when the fierceness from the sky pelts the water with rain. That sound is amazing.  Nothing else like it.

I am off to our place by the river later today.  After a rather topsy turvy week, I am in desperate need of some of that powerful calm.  My head and my heart are practically aching for it.  I hope that wherever you are, you can get to the water. God and Mother Nature sure teamed up on that one.

Until next time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Ain’t No Sunshine…

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I have lost my inner sunshine, my sense of balance. Have you seen it?  I feel as though my thoughts, emotions, current situations, everything…all of them are a part of this massive spinning wheel, like on a game show, and no matter where it lands when it stops, it’s going to be something I am having trouble with.  Family. Dogs. Life. Me. Spinning. Spinning. Spinning.  I feel as if I simply cannot get, even one of these things taken care of, so that I can free up some time for the others.  Or maybe even, just maybe, free up some time for myself.  Now there’s a novel idea.  I know, often times, that this is simply how  life is.  Yes, I do.  And that rarely do our current situations, comings and goings, etc, fall into a neat and tidy little pattern.  But if I can’t find a little bit of calm soon, I think I may explode.  It won’t be pretty.

And just like on those game shows, there’s an announcer shouting out “but wait, there’s more!”.  Ugh.  I was afraid of that.  Can anyone guess what that “more” is?  That’s ok, I’ll tell ya.  For as deep as my bag-o-tricks is (I try to have tips and tricks and the like to help myself out of my assorted pickles) this time, I don’t have any.  Nada. Not a one.  Now that doesn’t mean I will stop looking for one. And it definitely doesn’t mean I will give up.  Oh no no no.  There is no I in quitter.  Ok, there is one, but it’s lower case.  So that’s that.  It’s just that I’m tired.  I am emotionally and physically exhausted.  I want to find a little inner sunshine, a little stability.  I am just not sure how. Harrumph.

So why am I posting today, you may or may not be wondering, if I don’t have a solution to offer? Why tell you all about my troubles and not follow through with some ideas to try?  I think that maybe it’s because it’s a first step. And you can’t get anywhere without taking one.  That I do know.  Maybe it’s about laying it all out there, so that you can get a good look at the mess you are in, and then you can rally the troops (in my case my dogs), and one way or another tackle the situation.  Sometimes the solution lies in steps, to be continueds (so not a word, but I love it!), so to speak.  And as long as you keep showing up to take the next step, hopefully, with some grit and hard work, you will find one.  Hopefully I will find that inner sunshine and place of calm and the wheel will become less crowded and life will not be so overwhelming.

Until next time.

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